Dream Signs

Free_texture_-_purple_dream_(6922675229)The third part of the Road to Peace Pilgrim series.

I woke up in the middle of the night.  At least…I thought I was awake.  I was in my bed.  Everything had this hazy quality to it.  Like looking at a TV with bad reception.  And I was paralyzed again.

I felt someone come into my room.  I thought it was my roommate.  “Aaron?” I said.

But it wasn’t Aaron.  Whoever – whatever  – it was, it was giving off an aura of malevolence.  It rushed up to my bed, knelt down beside me, and whispered things to me.  Accusing things.  Hateful things.  Things about myself.  What a worthless person I was.  The insults were coming at me so fast, I couldn’t even keep up with them.  I just listened, wide-eyed, in shock.

I caught the last phrase, though:

“…and your bathroom is a mess!” I blinked, and then smiled.  I couldn’t help but smile.  Of course.

Of course my personal demon would lay into me about keeping my bathroom neat.

I reached deep down inside myself and pulled out all the love I could muster and sent it towards this being.  I don’t really know why I thought to do that.  It was instinct more than anything else.

Immediately, the being vanished.  I was free.  I stood up immediately looking around the room.  I saw green and blue blobs floating around on my floor.  I blinked. Wait a minute, I thought.  Am I still..?

I blinked and I was back in bed, waking up for real.

The next night there were no visitations.  Just incredibly lucid dreams.

An old Russian woman spoke to me of a past life we shared together…

Martin Luther King made an appearance:  “Behold the land of Canaan,” he said, “whether Caanan’s land is here or not.”

Then, oddly enough, my final visitor was a friend I knew from work.  She told me that I had chained all the people I knew in my life to my ego.  I needed to let them go.  “Nobody can give you what you already possess within yourself,” she said.  “Release your brothers.”

And that was it.  The dreams, the night paralysis…it all stopped after that.  Everything went back to normal.

Everything but me.

The Power (Part 2 of the Road to Peace Pilgrim Series)

The LightI used Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way as a roadmap to getting me back on the spiritual path.  I wrote three pages of stream-of-consciousness each morning.  This helped me get a lot of psychic garbage out of my system.

I still felt residual pain from the infection, as well as tingling in my left leg.  My intuition told me that physical exercise, such as yoga would probably help.

I only went to yoga once a week on average, but I noticed improvement immediately. Less tension in my body, more of an optimistic outlook on life, all that good stuff.  Then I saw that my yoga studio was offering Zen meditation classes.

Our teacher recommended a copy of Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.  While reading it, I came across a passage that described the mind like a river constantly flowing.  Rather than trying to resist our thoughts, one should allow one’s thoughts to come and go.

The image of the river was a good one.  I wanted to treat my mind that way.  Relaxing it.  Letting thoughts come and go.

So one night, in September of 2006, I lay in bed, on my side, breathing deeply, envisioning my mind to be a flowing river.  No resistance.  No grasping for thoughts.  Just going with the flow of mind.

Eventually I fell asleep.

I don’t remember exactly what my dream was that night. Only that it had to do with The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, a show I never really liked.  In the dream, I was watching Boris and Natasha talking.  Natasha said something about “moose and squirrel” in that thick Russian accent of hers, and I started laughing hysterically.

Then I woke up.  I was awake in my bed.  I couldn’t move.  I was paralyzed. But I could still hear the sound of my own laughter inside my head.  It was like I could hear someone else laughing, but they were laughing with my voice.

The laughter was becoming more intense, more high-pitched, more frightening.  I told myself that this laughter was simply a projection of my subconscious mind, and that it wouldn’t and couldn’t hurt me. I relaxed.

The laughter ceased…and then I felt a powerful Force surrounding me, moving through my body, enveloping me.  It was the most exquisite, blissful sensation I’d ever experienced.  My face split into an involuntary grin.  That’s how good it felt.   But in my head, I was freaking out.  I still couldn’t move my body.  At first, I thought I was on drugs, but I remembered I hadn’t smoked cannabis in months…at least not since I got on this whole  spiritual kick.

Great, I thought to myself.  I’ve done it this time.  I’ve really fucked my mind up.

I tried to move.  No luck.

Okay, I told myself.  I’m going to get out of bed on the count of three.  One…Two…THREE!

I gathered my will and put every ounce of mental strength I had into trying to get up.

I don’t know how to explain what happened next, other than to say that my consciousness became partially dislodged from my body.  One minute, I was perceiving everything from my head (through my eyes and whatnot), and the next thing I knew, I was perceiving everything from the center of my abdomen.  And there was a terrible pain in my head…well…where my head should have been, in my astral body, maybe.  Who knows?  In any case, I felt something like a gravitational force pull my consciousness back into my head where it belonged.

I lay there, still unable to move.  Still feeling this Power flow through me.

“God,” I prayed in my head, ” I don’t know what to do right now. I’m going to just trust that no matter what happens, you got me.  You support me.  I’m giving myself over to you.”

I let myself relax.

The Power left.  My body was free.  I sat up in bed, staring at the wall for I don’t know how long.  Then I got up and walked into the living room.

My roommate was on the couch watching TV.  He saw the look on my face.

“What’s up, dude?” he said.

I told him what happened.

“Wow,” he said.  “That’s crazy.”

I went back into the bedroom.  I didn’t think I’d be able to fall asleep.  But I did.  The rest of the night passed without incident.

The same can’t be said about the next night.  And the night after that.

To be continued…

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How a Swollen Nutsack Made Me a Believer (Part 1 of the Road to Peace Pilgrim Series)

544px-Epididymis-KDS

Like I said on the About page, there’s a lot that went down between my life in New York and when I  attempted my peace walk.  I’ve decided to chronicle the events that lead up to said walk.  This is the first part.

When I woke up on the morning of August 7, 2005, I felt a massive pain in my groin.  Definitely not the best way to start my 25th birthday.  I pulled down my boxers and had a look.  Everything seemed normal.  I’d been drinking and smoking weed the previous night, so I figured I’d pulled a muscle while in the middle of doing something stupid.

The next day, the pain was worse, and it wasn’t just in the general groin area.  It was coming directly from my left nut.  It was a deep, dull, insistent pain, the kind of pain that makes you nervous because you know something is wrong.  I had ignored it most of the morning.  By the afternoon, it had gotten so bad, it warranted a second look.

I went into the bathroom, took a breath, lowered my drawers, and was greeted with the sight of this…

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Okay, I was going to post a picture of a pair of testicles (not mine!) with an epididymitis infection, but it was so gross I almost puked all over my keyboard.  Since I want you to come back to this site, I decided to omit it.

However, if curiosity is getting the best of you and you have to know exactly what it looks like, you can click here BUT I would advise you not to do that.  Just use your imagination.  Unless you have a stomach of iron or you’re close to a toilet.

For those of you who couldn’t help yourself and ended up clicking on the link, 1) Fucking gross, right? and 2)  Now imagine it black and circumcised – and longer, of course – and you’ll get an idea of what I was looking at.  

Back to the story…

I was in unknown territory.  My balls had never given me much trouble in life.  Now this.  Was it an STD?  I hadn’t had sex in a while, and I always used protection.  Was it ball cancer?  Holy shit, what if I had ball cancer? Would they have to amputate it?  I’d be like Tom Green and Lance Armstrong, only not famous.  I couldn’t even be like, “Well, I only have one ball, but at least I’m famous.”  No.  I’d be a normal, un-famous guy with one testicle.

I called my dad, who’s a doctor.

“You’re fine,” said my dad.  “Don’t panic.”
“Is it testicular cancer?”
“Testicular cancer doesn’t just sprout up over night.  It sounds like you have epididymitis.”
“What’s that?”
“It’s an infection of epididymis.”
“What’s that?”
“It’s the tube that connects the testicles to the vas deferens.”
“It’s really swollen.”
“Uh huh-”
“And red.  And angry-looking.”
“Yep.  That sounds about right.”
“How’d I get it?”
“It’s a bacterial infection, so you could have gotten it a number of ways.  Sex, urinary tract infection, or sometimes bacteria just works its way down there.  It’s hard to say.”

Sometimes bacteria just works its way down there…

“What do I do?”
“I’ll prescribe you some antibiotics.  It should clear up soon.  Just relax and don’t panic.”

As promised, my dad prescribed me the antibiotics.  It was around this time that the pain intensified.  I developed a fever.

Sometimes bacteria just works its way down there…

It hurt to pee.  It hurt to lie down on my left side.  And forget about masturbation.

Sometimes bacteria just works its way down there…

Eventually, the antibiotics did their thing, the infection went away, and the swelling went down.  Physically, I was fine.  It was the psychological damage that got me.

I’d never been a germaphobe before. Now I was.  I constantly washed my hands.  I always had a bottle of hand sanitizer wherever I went.  I was afraid to shake people’s hands and touch door knobs.  I became adept at turning sinks off with my elbows.

I talked my job into giving me health insurance and made regular visits to the doctor.  She told me I was fine, but sent me to some specialists just to make sure.  I complained about pains coming from my liver, so I got an MRI done of my liver and groin.  Everything looked fine, though my doctor noted that my prostate seemed larger than usual.  She recommended I see a urologist.  I went.  The urologist seemed annoyed that my regular doctor had even bothered sending me to him, because my MRI didn’t look the slighest bit unusual.  But since I was already there, he might as well give me a prostate exam.  He noted that I was probably the youngest guy he’d ever examined.

Everyone kept telling me I was fine, but I didn’t feel fine.  Every now and then, I’d feel residual pain in my groin. I also felt a weird tingly sensation throughout my entire body.  My dad kept telling me that it was all psychological.  But the symptoms felt too real.

My OCD got worse, spreading into other areas of my life.  I would check the burners on the stove multiple times before leaving the house.  I would check the locks as well.  My imagination ran wild as I visualized the worst possible things happening to me and people I loved.  I had trouble sleeping.  I developed chronic acid reflux.  My stomach felt like it was on fire.

One night, I was rolling around in my bed, unable to shut off my thoughts.

This is hell, I thought.  I’m creating my own hell.  I’m torturing myself with my own thoughts.

For the first time since I’d left Christianity almost four years ago, I missed God.  I missed the feeling of comfort and security it gave me to know that there was a Supreme Being looking out for me.  Even if that wasn’t true, and I was making the whole thing up in my head,  it didn’t matter. I needed to believe in something.

I was a happier person when I believed in God, so who cared if it was all just make-believe?  As long as I was happy and didn’t hurt anybody, it was my own business what I believed.  So I resolved to start praying again, learn meditation and yoga, and eat better foods. I’d do whatever I needed to do to get back into a healthy state of mind.

There’s a quote from the Kabbalistic text The Work of the Chariot which goes as follows:  “When a man takes one step towards God, God takes more steps toward that man than there are sands in the worlds of time.”

I don’t pretend to know anything about God or the nature of the universe.  I can say this though: once I took that first step, some seriously weird shit started to happen.  My swollen nut and the OCD was just the appetizer.  The main course was still on its way.  And I found out that once you open certain doors in life, you can’t close them.  Ever.